Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening it deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course! Each of us has such a bank. Its name is TIME. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off as lost whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance. “No rollover minutes w/ God!” It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the “tomorrow”. You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success! The clock is running. Make the most of today.
You have a LIFETIME- your time is your life and your life is your time! An average American you will live 25,550 days, 612,000 hours, 36,720,000 min., 2,203,200,000 sec. It seems like a lot, but James 4:14 says, “What do you know about tomorrow? How can you be so sure about your life? It is nothing more than mist that appears for only a little while before it disappears.” So think about it this way, where are you right now? The point is this: Whatever you’re going to do with your life, you’d better get started on it. Because time is running out and you need to get running!
Time is your most valuable resource!
What matters, is not the duration of your life, but the donation of your life! What matters in life is not how long you live, but how you live. All of us get the same amount of time every week: 168 hours. The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people or the difference between effective people and ineffective people or the difference between people who make their lives count and those who don’t is how they manage their time.
Psalm 90:10, 12 (CEV) “We can expect 70 years, or maybe 80, if we are healthy, but even our best years bring trouble and sorrow. Suddenly our time is up and we disappear… Teach us to use wisely all the time we have!” Notice that time management must be taught because sinfulness has put a limit on our time- that’s why you always feel so much pressure. God’s intention from the beginning is that we would “live forever”, but as you know, we blew it in the Garden and now, as the Eagles used to sing, “I’m afraid it’s all been wasted time”, unless of course, you’re willing to learn some key things about “redeeming” your time.
Eph. 5:15-16 (CEV) “Act like people with good sense and not like fools. These are evil times so make every minute count.” Time management is really life management. You must be taught how to use your time wisely and you have to redeem every minute. In other words, have purpose (God’s purpose) in all you do. Which means sometimes saying “No to good things so you can say YES to the best things!”
Gal. 6:5 (NLV) “For we are each responsible for our own conduct.” You have to take control of your time or time will take control of you! We’ve all used the many variations of the excuse, “I don’t have time!” No, that’s not true- you have the time, the same as everyone else, 86,400 seconds in every day, 1,440 minutes, 24 hours, it’s completely about how you manage, or take responsibility for your time- your lifetime!
Last week, in Pt. 1, we said the overall principle is to understand what biblical life management is. God has rights, we have responsibilities, and the most responsible thing I can do is to give my life back to God! When you do that, you realize that time is not your enemy; it is your greatest resource, so:
- Quit wasting your time! Making excuses, being negative, complaining, being envious, jealous, being aimless, having no goals, are all a major waste of time!
- Stop whining about how you don’t have enough time! You are responsible for 95% of your calendar, schedule, work time, family time…
- Start using your time wisely! And here’s how… TIME
TREASURE OR VALUE YOUR TIME!
The Bible says, “Make every minute count… because we have a limited amount of time!” The only way you can do that is to realize that time is your most valuable resource. If you don’t value your time, then how can you use it wisely, or for the best purposes in life?
To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade. To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby. How valuable is AN HOUR? Ask the businessman whose flight was delayed an hour and he missed an important business deal. How valuable is ONE MINUTE? Ask the man who had the heart attack in the restaurant and an EMT happened to be sitting at the next table and CPR saved his life. How valuable is A SECOND? Ask the person who barely missed a head on collision with an oncoming car. How valuable is A MILLISECOND? Ask the Olympic sprinter who missed the gold medal by three-tenths. Time really is valuable.
TIME IS MUCH MORE VALUABLE THAN MONEY! “You can make more money but you can’t make more time.” Have you ever heard the expression, “time is money?” It’s not true. Time is much more valuable than money. It may be hard to make more money, but it can be done. But it is totally impossible to make more time. A.W. Tozer wrote, “Time is a resource that is nonrenewable and nontransferable. You cannot store it, slow it up, hold it up, divide it up or give it up. You can’t hoard it up or save it for a rainy day–when it’s lost it’s unrecoverable. When you kill time, remember that it has no resurrection.”
So, understand that you should treasure time as the most valuable asset you are given in this world. How well do you value your time?
INVEST YOUR TIME!
Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m going to buy me some time?” Impossible! How about this one: “I’ve got to find more time?” Again, can’t happen! Or, “I’ve got to make some time?” Tell me how you’re going to do that?? You can’t buy more time, you can’t really find more time, or make more time.
You can only invest time! Time is much more valuable than money, but like money, it can be spent and invested. Unlike money, time can’t be saved; if you don’t use it, you lose it- forever! Back in my “time”, Jim Croce wrote a song that said, “If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I’d like to do, is to save every day ‘till eternity passes away–just to spend them with you.” Those are great lyrics, and it would be nice if we could save time, but you can’t. In fact, a few months after he wrote that song, he was tragically killed in a plane crash in Louisiana at the age of 30. How can you “save” time?
I know what you’re thinking: “I save time when I use my microwave!” Or, here are the men, “I save time by taking the shortcut!” Show me the time you’ve saved–where is it? What happened to it? The time you thought you saved, you spent it on somewhere on something! You can’t save time; you can only spend it and invest it.
So, take a look at your time, your schedule, your calendar, your day-to-day, week-to-week; what’s that look like? Because, where you spend your time is what you are investing your life in; and that reveals what is most important to you! There are 168 hours in each week. The average person will spend 56 of those hours sleeping, 24 of those hours in eating and personal hygiene, and 50 of those hours working or traveling to work. That means there are only about 35 hours each week of “discretionary” time left over. That’s about 5 hours per day. Where are you investing those hours? If I were to follow you around and watch you for those 5 hours, after a week or so, I could tell you what is most important in your life!
You might not like it, or agree with it, but for some of you, surfing the Internet is most important to you. For others, watching television, or exercising, or fill in the blank is what’s most important. How much of that discretionary time are you devoting to your Lord, or to your family? A study conducted by the University of Michigan of 1500 households found that mothers working outside the home spend an average of 11 minutes a day on weekdays, and 30 minutes a day on weekends with their children (not including mealtime). Fathers spend an average of 8 minutes a day on weekdays and 14 minutes a day on weekends!
Have you ever heard this excuse? Some dad or mom will say, “I don’t spend much time with my family, but the little time I do spend is ‘quality time.’” I don’t really like that phrase, because it is most often used as an excuse for not spending much time together at all! “Quality time” is really a misnomer, because all time has the same quality. Consider this second… was it of higher quality than the previous second…or of this second right now?
It’s like talking about “quality money.” If I offered you a hundred dollar bill, would you say, “No, it’s wrinkled.” I’d rather have that new, crisp $5 bill because it’s of better quality.” What?? Please, I’m not trying to offend anyone. I’m simply saying that you have time for what you deem important! Or, you’re under pressure because you may not be spending or investing your time very well! Again, your schedule will always reveal what matters most to you. It’s not merely about “quality time”, it’s about the wisest investment of your time. And in my opinion, investing your life/time in your family is one of, if not the best use of your time!
MANAGE YOUR TIME!
A time management expert was teaching a seminar for executives. He placed a large, clear open-mouthed jar in front of the group. Next, he put seven or eight large rocks into the jar until it was full. “Is the jar full?” He asked. Everyone nodded. Then he took pebbles and filled up the jar with the small rocks until they reached the rim. “Is the jar full?” By now, they didn’t answer. So, he poured fine sand in. “Is the jar full?” Some nodded. He proceeded to take a pitcher of water and filled up the jar again. “What’s the lesson about time management?” he asked. Hands shot up, and everyone agreed “No matter how busy you are you can always fit more things into your schedule.” “Wrong.” he replied. “The lesson is: unless you put the big rocks in first, they never will fit in!”
What are the big rocks in your life- the priorities? Giving time to God? Giving time to your marriage and to your children? If you don’t put those big rocks in first, someone or something else will fill up your jar! Again, we’ve got to understand: Every moment is a gift from God that must be managed wisely because you don’t get those moments back, and If you don’t manage your time – someone or something else will manage it for you!
You can’t save time, or even waste time–you are going to spend it somewhere and invest it in someone or something. If you don’t control your schedule, someone or something will always be happy to do it for you. Some people complain they just don’t have enough time to spend with their family. You’ve got exactly the same amount of time as everyone else; you just aren’t managing your time wisely or managing yourself wisely. The most important time you will invest will be in your family. Many of you remember the song, “The Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin. Part of it says, “My child arrived just the other day. He came to the world in the usual way. But there were planes to catch and bills to pay. He learned to walk while I was away. He was talking before I knew it, and as he grew He said, “I’m going to be like you, Dad. You know I’m going to be like you. My son turned ten just the other day. He said, “Thanks for the ball, now come on let’s play. Can you teach me to throw?” I said, “Not today, I’ve got a lot to do.” He said, “That’s OK.” And he walked away and he smiled and he said “You know I’m going to be like you, Dad, You know I’m going to be like you.” The final verse says: “I’ve long since retired and my son’s moved away. I called him up just the other day. I said, “I’d like to see you, if you don’t mind.” He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I could find the time. You see, my new job’s a hassle and the kids have the flu, but it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad. It’s been real nice talking to you.” And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me, He’d grown up just like me. My boy was just like me.”
Maybe you’ve heard the song, but here’s the rest of the story: Harry Chapin’s wife, Sandy, actually wrote the words to that song after their son Josh was born. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy. When their son was 7, Harry was performing 200 concerts a year, and Sandy asked him when he was going to take some time to be with his son. Harry promised to make some time at the end of the summer. He never made it. That summer, a truck hit Harry’s Volkswagen bug and he was killed!
I deeply understand and appreciate the demands that are put on our time. And I certainly know the juggling act we can perform to try and manage everything. But, I also know and accept that either I will control my schedule or it will control me. Make sure the “big rocks” go in first and that you don’t miss your moments of opportunity!
ENJOY YOUR TIME!
If you’re not enjoying your time then either it’s because you’ve got a problem you’re dealing with, you’re under a lot of pressure, or you’re being pessimistic or pouting about something! True, some problems come our way and it’s not enjoyable, whether we caused them or they were caused to us, so I’ll give you that one. But, 99.9% of the time you can control the pressure and whether you’re going to pout or not! People under pressure are ready to explode. And people that are always pessimistic or pouting are ready to implode! Either way, it’s not only going to create a mess, it’s robbing you have all those “moments” you’re never going to get back!
How do you keep from exploding or imploding and learning to actually “use wisely the time you have” as Ps. 90:12 says, “make every minute count” like Eph. 5:16 says, and be “more responsible for your conduct” like Gal.6:5 says? Here’s a practical recommendation to help: Add some margin to your life.
A lot of people are on overload and headed for a crash. Consider these statistics: We spend eight months of our lives opening junk mail, two years of our lives playing phone tag with people who are busy or who are not answering, five years waiting for people who are trying to do too much and are late for meetings. We have all this technology and everything is so easily accessible, and yet it only creates more and more problems, pressure, and pouting! We’re a piled-on, stretched-to-the limit society. We’re chronically rushed, chronically late, chronically exhausted. Many of us feel like Job did when he said, “I have no peace and rest,m only troubles and worries!” Job 3:26.
Overload comes when we have too much activity in our lives. Simply put, we’re stressed by the pace of life. Is there a solution? Yes. The solution is to put some margin into your life. Margin is the key to enjoying your moments!
Margin is breathing room. It’s keeping a little reserve that you’re not using up. It’s not going from one meeting to the next to the next with no space in between. Margin is the space between your load and your limit. Hopefully your load is not heavier than your limits. But the truth is that most of us are far more overloaded than we can handle, and there is no margin for error in our lives.
“Marginless” is being 30 minutes late to the doctor’s office because you were 20 minutes late getting out of the hairdresser because you were 10 minutes late dropping the children off at school because something unexpected came up and ruined your perfectly timed out plan. That’s marginless. A good plan leaves some margin…room for error or the unexpected!
Margin is having breath at the top of the staircase, money at the end of the month, and sanity left over at the end of each day. “Marginless” is not having time to finish the book you’re reading on stress. Margin is having the time to read it twice! If you’re standing at the microwave going, “Come on, come on…” you definitely need some margin in your life!
Four benefits of putting margin in your life:
- Peace. When you’re not hurrying and worrying all the time, you have time to think. Time to relax. Time to enjoy life. Put some margin in your day and it won’t be long until you realize how much more peaceful you are and those around you too!
- Better health. Unrelenting stress harms our bodies. We all know that, yet we let it continue day after day after day. Many times the only time we get margin in our lives is when the heart attack almost happens or does happen or the blood pressure skyrockets. Why do we wait until our health plummets before we make this decision? The truth is, your body needs downtime in order to heal. Racecars make pit stops occasionally in order to get repaired. You can’t fix anything going 200 miles an hour. Yet we try to be repaired while we’re still racing through life. Margin builds in time for better health.
- Stronger relationships. Lack of margin is one big reason for the collapse of the American family today. When we don’t make relationships a priority and make time for each other, our relationships suffer. The truth is relationships take time, and margin provides the time to sit and talk, to listen and enjoy one another, and to provide the comfort we each need.
- Usefulness in ministry. When you’re overloaded by activity, you can only think of yourself. You’re in survival mode, just trying to make it through another day. But being available to God for his use makes all the difference in this world. When you have no margin in your life, when God taps you on the shoulder and says, “I’d like you to do this for me,” your first response isn’t joy. Your first response is, “Oh, no! Another thing to do! Sorry, God—I’d like to do that, but I’m just too busy.” We end up resenting the great opportunities God brings into our lives. But when you have margin, you’re available for God to use.
You simply can’t live and enjoy the lifetime God has given you on overload. You can’t live and enjoy the lifetime God has given you in survival mode. Begin today to build a buffer around your schedule. Then enjoy the benefits of margin—and see what God does next!
Guess what? You spent and invested this time today to hear this teaching. Not only did you hear it, many of you took the time to take down some notes, maybe even detail a few action steps for how to better manage the greatest resource you have- your time!
Make “iTime” God’s time and pray and process about treasuring your time better, investing your time in the things that matter most, managing your time based on those God-ordained priorities, and enjoying your time by not allowing yourself to get on overload- purposefully put some margin in your day!
As we pray, let’s remember the words of Paul in Eph. 5 and ask God to help us “make every moment count!”
Next Week: Pt. 3 “iFinance”-